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Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back

Sandra Adams, 65, reunited with the Oklahoma Air National Guardsman who took the clothes off his back to help her after the May 20 tornado in Moore. She returned his military shirt at their hospital meeting Thursday.
by Diana Baldwin Published: May 24, 2013

Sandra Adams shook and cried as Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Drew Stanley walked into her hospital room Thursday.

“I didn't think I would ever see you again,” said Adams, 65.

The last time she saw him was Monday after a tornado destroyed her home in Moore.

Adams; her mother, Junie Redford, 88; and Duke, Adams' miniature dachshund, survived the twister in a bathtub amid pillows and a comforter. Her home and her prized red 2004 Mustang were destroyed.

“I needed you so bad,” she told Stanley, 28, an air cargo specialist with the 137th Air Refueling Wing. “Thank you, thank you.”

To keep her warm after the tornado, Stanley gave Adams his military uniform shirt.

“She was almost convulsing,” said Stanley, who is assigned to the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. “She was shaking so hard. She was really cold.

“I was really concerned about her.”

He said she appeared to be having trouble breathing.

Stanley assisted Adams into the vehicle which took her to the hospital. All she knew of him was his last name because it was printed on his shirt.

Thursday, she hugged him and gave him his shirt back. He gave her a bouquet of flowers.

Adams said she had been sick and bedridden at her home for five days before the tornado. She is at Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City so her breathing can be monitored.

She considers herself lucky to have survived.

“There were all kinds of noises and the lights went out,” Adams said. “The wind came up and the tile and ceiling began to fall on top of me and mother.

“I don't know how it kept from breaking my back. There was nothing around but debris, dirty debris.”

Adams said she was running out of air when she was pulled from the rubble.

“I'm glad to be here to talk about it,” she said.


Staff Writer

by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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